In 2019, the FBI confirmed that Samuel Little is the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. Little, who is 79-years-old, confessed to killing 93 victims across several states between 1970 and 2005.
Over the past five years, the Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) has been working on cold cases they have linked to the serial killer. Law enforcement has been able to verify 50 confessions and is still working to verify the remaining 43 cases. The FBI stated its analysts believe “all of his confessions are credible”.
Little’s kill count is higher than Ted Bundy (victim count – 30), John Wayne Gacy (victim count – 33), and Jeffrey Dahmer (victim count – 17) combined. Yet, despite these shocking figures, he is still relatively unknown to the public.
5. He Selected Victims He Thought Nobody Would Care About
Samuel Little’s modus operandi was similar to Gary ‘The Green River Killer’ Ridgway – selecting female sex workers and drug addicts who were vulnerable as they believed these deaths would go unnoticed. Ridgway murdered 48 women and teenage girls in the state of Washington during the 1980s and 1990s; he confessed he was so good at killing prostitutes he considered it a “career.”
Little himself was able to avoid detection for almost four decades. A former boxer, he knocked his victim’s out cold with one punch and then strangled them. Many of his victims? deaths were originally ruled overdoses, accidental or undetermined causes. Some bodies were never found.
ViCAP Crime Analyst Christie Palazzolo said, “For many years, Samuel Little believed he would not be caught because he thought no one was accounting for his victims. Even though he is already in prison, the FBI believes it is important to seek justice for each victim – to close every case possible.”
4. He Was Sentenced Following Disturbing Testimonies From Survivors
In 2012, Little was arrested on a drug charge in Kentucky and extradited to California, where officers carried out DNA testing. The DNA results linked him to three unsolved murders from 1987 and 1989 in Los Angeles County. He pleaded not guilty but was convicted and sentenced to three consecutive life sentences, with no chance of parole.
Former sex worker Lelia Johnson gave her testimony in court, recalling how she was attacked by Little in November 1981. She said, “He got his big hands around my neck, but I’m a fighter and I was scratching him in the eyeballs, kicking and fighting, fighting, fighting. He was evil. You could tell he hated women and he liked having control.” She managed to escape with her life but failed to report the attack at the time as she assumed nobody would believe her.
Another sex worker – who wishes to remain anonymous – testified, “He put me in a bathtub and was submerging my head in and out of water. He beat me severely, and I guess the only reason he didn’t kill me is because a friend of mine came and knocked on my door.” (Source)
3. He Draws His Victims From Memory To Help Solve Cold Cases
Due to his vivid memory that allows him to recall the faces of victims, Little has sketched many portraits and this has proved successful in identifying two women. He said, “The only things I was ever good at was drawing and fighting.”
The FBI shared the portraits in an effort to identify more victims. They also published video interviews where he describes details of the murders.
A spokesperson said, “We are hoping that someone – family member, former neighbor, friend – might recognize the victim and provide that crucial clue in helping authorities make an identification. We want to give these women their names back and their families some long-awaited answers. It’s the least we can do.”
The FBI urged anyone with information about the victims to call or email analysts at the bureau’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program at 800-634-4097.
2. He Confessed To A Texas Ranger
It was finally Texas Ranger James Holland who eventually managed to persuade Little to drop the innocent act and confess to his brutal killings. Holland was able to question Little “nearly daily” as the two ate pizza together and talked for more than 700 hours at the California prison.
Little confessed to every murder he could remember. Holland said, “He was so good at what he did. You know, ‘How did you get away with it, Sammy?’ Did the crime, left town. The first thing I picked up on is how wicked smart he was.” Adding, “Nothing he’s ever said has been proven to be wrong or false. We’ve been able to prove up almost everything he said.” (Source)
1. He Compared Killing To “Being In Bed With Marilyn Monroe”
It’s not unusual for a serial killer to show no signs of remorse. However, Little gloated about his sinister crimes and even referred to himself as an “angel of mercy.” During a series of chilling interviews, he referred to his victims as “my babies” and that “(killing) felt like heaven. Felt like being in bed with Marilyn Monroe.”
Little will be kept behind bars at California State Prison for the remainder of his days. (Source)